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Climate change in the spotlight

Grassington, 25 February, 2013.

Climate change and its effects on the Yorkshire Dales National Park will be in the spotlight next week. (March 4)

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is highlighting the issue once again in a bid to raise people’s awareness and encourage individuals and communities to help lessen its impact.

The move coincides with national Climate Change Week, which starts on Monday.

William Weston, the Authority's Member Champion for Climate Change, said: “This week is a chance for us all to think about climate change and ways each of us – as individuals, organisations and businesses – can reduce our carbon footprint on this beautiful but fragile National Park.

“Everyone can do something to help protect this special place, whether it is recycling household items or planting a tree.”

Gary Smith, the Authority’s Director of Conservation and Community, said: “The Authority is doing everything it can to mitigate the impact of climate change, which we see as having an enormous impact on the state of the National Park in years to come.

“As well as incorporating a range of environmentally friendly features in our own offices – including a woodchip fuel burner and a ground source heat pump – we are working with a range of partners on projects to reduce the effects of climate change.”

A new project has been launched by the Yorkshire Energy Partnership and the National Park Authority aimed at helping residents in Clapham to cut fuel bills.

The project will be run under the Government’s Green Deal scheme, which helps people to pay gradually for home improvements like insulation, double glazing or a new boiler through their electricity bill. Repayments will be no more than what a typical household should save in energy costs.

As a first step, Clapham residents are being offered free home energy assessments that normally cost a minimum of £99 to see if improvements are necessary under the scheme.

Anyone who would like to be considered for the assessment should contact the Yorkshire Energy Partnership on 01904 545020 and mention the Yorkshire Dales Green Deal. An advisor will then explain the simple process and arrange for a Green Deal assessor to visit. The number of free assessments is limited and they have to be completed before March 22.

And a huge scheme is currently underway in the National Park to restore its vast blanket bogs to prevent further erosion of the valuable peat resource, which stores vast amounts of carbon. If the peat is exposed, the carbon will escape into the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, a key cause of climate change.

Planting more vegetation and raising the water table by blocking grips (drainage channels) and encouraging the growth of sphagnum moss this process will enable carbon sequestration, taking carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the peat.

This work is being undertaken as part of the Yorkshire Peat Partnership, an umbrella organisation comprising the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Natural England, North York Moors National Park Authority and the Environment Agency.

•    The Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes will be staging three events to mark national Climate Change Week.

Visitors to the Museum, which is owned by the National Park Authority, will be able to follow a climate change facts and information trail round the building all week.

And on Tuesday, Museum Project Officer Jane Sammells will be holding a ‘Drop in and Taste’ session from 10.30am to 3pm when she will be highlighting ways to use leftovers and will be showing how easy it can be just to grow a few of your own vegetables. There will recipe sheets for visitors to take home and they will have the chance try and work out the ‘food miles’ of different ingredients.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday between 1pm and 4pm, visitors will be able to help create a quilt that will be raffled in aid of the Friends of the Dales Countryside Museum.

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